December 22, 2019
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Dana Bash and CBS’s Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan. Blunt slammed House Democrats’ politically-driven impeachment effort and discussed next steps in the Republican-led Senate.
Following Are Excerpts From Blunt’s CNN Interview:
BASH: So, as you well know, the standoff right now is that the speaker is holding the articles of impeachment at the House until the parameters of the trial are done.
"The Wall Street Journal" editorial board said that the Senate should and even could hold a trial even if they don't get the articles. You're the chair of the Rules Committee. Is that possible? Have you even looked into that?
BLUNT: You know, I don't know that that's possible. I think it's very unlikely.
I, frankly, don't think the speaker has the right to do this or the power to do this. The speaker has a lot of power. But once the House has spoken, the speaker doesn't get the decision as to whether or not she transmits that decision to the Senate, in my view.
I think we will have this all handled by the time we get back in January. I'm sure everybody is beginning to figure out how to present their case.
Frankly, I think it's a mistake on the speaker's part. I think this has looked pretty political anyway, and this is sort of the icing on the political cake, where, at the end, the speaker still can't let go of this as an issue to try to wring the last vestige of politics out of.
BLUNT: Well, based on what I know right now, I just don't think they made the case. I don't think they came close to making the case.
And this is called a trial because there was really in the Constitution, I think, no better thing to call it. But it's a very political process.
Five of the so-called jurors running for president, not a single Republican in the House convinced that they should vote for either the articles of impeachment, and a couple of Democrats convinced that they shouldn't vote for the article of impeachment.
So, it's not a classic -- I was talking to a federal judge one day this week, and he said, how could you call this really a trial -- he was a federal judge for a decade or more -- where half of the jurors can overrule what the judge decides that ought to happen next?
It's not a trial in any classic sense. It is a political decision to do it. And, at the end of the day, every single member of the Senate has considerations that are pretty obvious.
Following Are Excerpts From Blunt’s CBS Interview:
BRENNAN: This time Democrats are arguing the trial needs to be fair, and that includes the certainty of hearing from witnesses. How can you have a credible trial without that?
BLUNT: Well, every one of the Democrats that were in the Senate the last time that are here now voted against witnesses the last time. So, this is you know, this is a political process, no matter how you describe it. You can call it a trial, but it’s a trial where half of the jurors can decide that the chief justice is wrong and we’re going to go in a different direction. It is a political process. It always has been. It always will be. One of my concerns, Margaret, is that in a hundred- the first hundred and eighty years of the history of the country, we went to presidential impeachment exactly one time. And here in the last 46 years, we’ve gone to it three times and never with a result that removed a president –
BLUNT: –because of the impeachment itself. And I think it’s a mistake to take this lightly or to act like you can send a half-baked case over to the Senate. And then it’s the Senate’s job to try to figure out how to do what you didn’t do.
BLUNT: And there may be a time when we decide that witnesses are essential, but the witnesses that the House didn't call would have the same privilege in the Senate that they had in the House.
I think the House sending over a very vague two charges to the Senate and then assuming it's the Senate's job to try to make something out of that takes a process we're already taking too lightly, impeachment three times in 46 years, and taking it even more lightly.
The world we live in now is more certain, more likely than not, that a president will always have a house, at some point in their presidency, controlled by the other party. A majority of that -- of the other party can send articles of impeachment over.
I think we need to be sure that we set a standard where they have to make sense before they're sent over, not leave it up to the Senate to try to make sense out of a case that the House says they clearly made.